July 27, 1956– Carol Leifer:
“My kind of gay, meeting a woman and falling in love, is a different experience because it wasn’t anything about ‘Oh, I’ve always been gay and I’m breaking the chains’.”
Leifer was the first contestant to be eliminated with a “You’re Fired!” on Season Nine (2010) of some weird reality series called Celebrity Apprentice, produced and hosted by a strange, pugnacious man with orange skin and a helmet of golden hair. Thank God, he is now out of the picture. The other celebs that year included Gay Icon Cyndi Lauper, convicted felon politician Rod Blagojevich, cokehead / Evangelical Christian minister / baseball player Darryl Strawberry, and comedian Sinbad. The winner was Poison lead singer and Rock Of Love star Bret Michaels. An animal lover, her charity was North Shore Animal League. In September 2007, Leifer won an auction for the handwritten notes used by animal abusing footballer Michael Vick during his apology for his role in dogfighting.
“What’s really so funny about this thing is that when you’re fired, they ask you to have breakfast the next day with the executive producers. I said sure, and they said, ‘Oh, really?’ They were surprised; they said that a lot of times people won’t come because they were fired and they’re so mad. And then when you meet with the executive producers over breakfast, they actually offer you therapy! They say: ‘I know this is hard, and if you want a therapist we have somebody you can talk to’. I’m just sitting there thinking, ‘You do realize that this is a reality show and I just got fake-fired by Donald Trump, right?'”
After graduating from Binghampton University with a degree in Theatre, Leifer started a career in stand-up after accompanying her then boyfriend at the time, Paul Reiser, to his gig at Catch A Raising Star. She had a very successful career doing stand-up, plus she appeared on Late Night With David Letterman 25 times. She once opened for Frank Sinatra in Las Vegas. She eventually moved to writing and has been nominated for five Emmy Awards for her work on the groundbreaking The Larry Sanders Show (1992-98), Saturday Night Live, Rules Of Engagement (2007-2013, also serving as executive producer, and most famously Seinfeld (1989-1998). She is said to have been the inspiration of the character Elaine.
Lefier has written for several Academy Awards broadcasts, including the 84th Academy Awards in 2012 with Billy Crystal as host for the ninth time.
In 1996, she was invited to share a table at a charity dinner for Project Angel Food in Los Angeles where she was seated with Lori Wolf, a gay real estate executive who had brought her date.
“I didn’t grow up feeling like I was gay and hiding it. I was boy crazy. But Lori was so uninhibited about showing affection to her date, it was a turn-on to me.”
On her 40th birthday, Leifer had a revelation:
“I suddenly had this really mad desire to have an affair with a woman, I was divorced. I was childless. I figured there’s got to be one more way to really tick off my mom. I told Lori that I kind of had this crush on her, and she was, like: ‘No way. I’m not going to be a science experiment for some straight girl!'”
“I used my patented line that I’ve used easily for the last 20 years: ‘Well, what would it hurt if we just made out?’ Heard the song lyric ‘I kissed a girl and I liked it’? Well, I kissed a girl and my head spun around.”
Wolf was not really interested:
“I didn’t want to be a straight woman’s science experiment.”
But, the two women did begin date, reluctantly. After five years they moved in together. Leifer, who had been married to a gentile man, came out to her parents who expressed relief that Wolf was Jewish.
In 2007, two years after they had moved in together, they adopted a nine-month-old boy from Guatemala. They adjusted to their new domestic life, and over time moved into three different houses that they bought and then flipped for a profit. They talked about getting married, and when SCOTUS brought Marriage Equality to the USA in June 2015, Wolf proposed.
On December 5, 2015, they were married by a Rabbi at the Brentwood Country Club in L.A., with 15o guests including: Jane Lynch, Larry David, Bill Maher, Garry Shandling, Henry Winkler, Jay Leno and Reiser.
“When I first started talking about being gay onstage I felt it wasn’t working. The audience was like, ‘You seem straight and now you’re talking about being gay, what?’ I just kind of gave it up. But now I think I wasn’t completely owning it, because it works completely now. I talk about having been married, and then I met this woman and my life spun around and we’ve been together for years. The audience always still applauds when I say how long we’ve been together, which is pretty amazing for a comedy club. I own it so much now. It wasn’t the audience. It was me.”
Leifer has two collections of funny, honest essays: How To Succeed In Business Without Really Crying (2014) and When You Lie About Your Age, The Terrorists Win (2009). She is currently a staff writer on Modern Family.
Leifer, Wolf and son live Santa Monica, along with two dogs and a cat.
“I recently became vegan because I felt that as a Jewish lesbian, I wasn’t part of a small enough minority. So now I’m a Jewish lesbian vegan.”
Tonight, for her birthday, Leifer is doing a concert at NYC’s Beacon Theatre with her pal Jerry Seinfeld.